January 2021
monthly newsletter
Update from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance
Breakfast Lecture: Kalamazoo River Watershed
Case Study
Thursday, January 14, 8:30-9:30 AM

Featured Speaker: Steve Hamilton, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies & Michigan State University

Dr. Hamilton led the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council for ten years and has done some of his most detailed ecological research in that watershed. The Kalamazoo River flows some 130 miles from south-central Michigan westward to Lake Michigan. Environmental issues include a Superfund site (PCBs), removal of old dams, a very large oil spill, and a recent emergency dam drawdown that released massive quantities of sediment. The Kalamazoo River watershed represents a valuable case study for similar challenges in the Hudson River watershed.
Microplastic Hotspots in Hudson Valley Lakes & Estuaries
Thursday, January 28, 6:00-7:00 PM

Join the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance and the Hudson River Watershed Alliance for a presentation on microplastics with Marist College researchers.

Gabi DeGennaro, Marist College student, will share her research on microplastics in sediment in Chadwick Lake, along with Wappinger Creek, Wallkill River/Rondout Creek, and Esopus Creek. Her work focuses on better understanding locations where microplastics may accumulate over time as "hot spots," especially where streams flow into lakes and estuaries. Zion Klos, Assistant Professor at Marist College, will provide additional background on Marist's microplastic research.
Past Webinars
Catching up on programs you may have missed? The Hudson River Watershed Alliance's YouTube channel features specific playlists for our 2020 breakfast lectures and the Stream & Buffer Protection Workshop.

Please subscribe to our channel here!
Hudson Valley Environmental Justice Coalition
Monday, January 18, 6:00-7:00 PM

On the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, the Hudson Valley Environmental Justice Coalition is thrilled to welcome Aaron Mair, first African American president of the Sierra Club. Aaron Mair will join Rev. Dr. Gregory Simpson for a moderated conversation.

The Hudson Valley Environmental Justice Coalition brings nationally-recognized figures to local audiences to speak about environmental justice and the environmental crisis. Hudson River Watershed Alliance is a member of the HVEJC.
Winter Sawkill Walk
To start off 2021, Emily Vail from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance led a walk along the Sawkill Creek, organized by the Woodstock Land Conservancy. Walking upstream from the Zena Cornfield, we talked about watersheds, floodplains and riparian areas, water quality, infrastructure, and more. The Sawkill flows about 20 miles through the towns of Woodstock, Kingston, and Ulster, before joining the Esopus Creek. To learn more, check out our Work on Watersheds report.

Due to NYS COVID-19 safety guidelines, participation was limited, masks were required, equipment sharing was prohibited, and social distancing was observed.
Watershed Highlight
Climate Smart Communities
Libby Zemaitis from the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University presented on the Climate Smart Communities updates at our Annual Watershed Conference in October.
A map of municipalities participating in the Climate Smart Communities Program is available here.
A watershed-based flood mitigation plan, like the Saw Kill Watershed and Flood Mitigation Assessment, is eligible for points through the Climate Smart Communities program.
Representatives from Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Hastings, Sleepy Hollow, and Tarrytown participated in a Community Resilience Building Workshop in 2019 with The Nature Conservancy and Hudson River Watershed Alliance.
In December 2020, New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program released 19 new and updated actions for climate adaptation. Many of these new actions relate to water and watershed planning, and represent a great opportunity for municipalities to work on watershed actions. Libby Zemaitis from the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program presented on these updates at the Hudson River Watershed Alliance's online Annual Watershed Conference in October. 

Climate Smart Communities (CSC) is a New York State program that helps local governments reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The CSC program is sponsored by seven New York State agencies, and administered by DEC.

CSC started in 2009 as a voluntary program for local governments to pass a resolution committing to a 10-point Climate Smart Communities Pledge. In 2014, the program expanded to include a certification program and specific guidance on how to implement the Pledge.

To be designated as a Certified Climate Smart Community, a municipality must complete and document actions taken at the local level to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Municipalities earn points toward certification for each action they complete, and there are several mandatory and priority actions for each level of certification (bronze, silver and gold).

CSC serves as a valuable framework to help municipalities consider climate actions. In addition, municipalities that are certified Climate Smart Communities can get higher scores on grant applications, like DEC’s CSC Grants.

The Climate Smart Communities program now includes over 100 different climate mitigation and adaptation actions. These are organized by specific elements within the Climate Smart Communities Pledge. Pledge Element 7: Enhance community resilience to climate change and Pledge Element 6: Implement climate-smart land use in particular include many water-related actions. 

Actions in Pledge Element 7 now include: 

For watershed-based plans, point levels are based on how much of the municipality is included within the plan. For source water protection, points are available for planning and implementation of protection strategies. 

Other actions in Pledge Element 7 include: climate adaptation plan, hazard mitigation plan, conserve natural areas, green infrastructure, culverts and dams, riparian buffers, nature-based shorelines, and water conservation and reuse. 

Actions in Pledge Element 6 include: comprehensive plan with sustainability elements, green parking lot standards, natural resources inventory, and protecting natural areas through zoning or other regulations. 

Bard College Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water: Community Science Coordinator applications being reviewed after January 4 (rolling)

The Community Science Coordinator will work with the Director of the OSUN (Open Society University Network) Community Science Coalition and the Director of the Community Science Lab to strengthen partnerships with local and regional community groups while supporting community science engagement efforts involving faculty, students, and staff across the international campuses of the Open Society University Network. Building on the strengths of the Bard Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water, the Community Science Coalition supports community science projects through its Community Science Lab. This core lab facility conducts environmental testing in response to community concerns. The data generated will be used, along with measurements from field-based Climate Observatories, to evaluate local climate impacts and inform decision makers. 

Bard College Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water: Community Science Lab Technician applications being reviewed after January 4 (rolling)

The Lab Technician will work with the Director of the OSUN Community Science Coalition and the Director of the Community Science Lab to support teaching and research activities that utilize the Community Science Lab core facility instrumentation (e.g., DNA sequencer, real-time PCR, carbon analyzer, ion chromatography). Building on the strengths of the Bard Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water, the Community Science Coalition supports community science projects through its Community Science Lab. This core lab facility conducts environmental testing in response to community concerns. The data generated will be used, along with measurements from field-based Climate Observatories, to evaluate local climate impacts and inform decision makers. 

NEIWPCC/Hudson River Estuary Program: Intern – Climate Change & Justice application due January 12

The successful candidate will assist with communications, outreach and engagement on climate change and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) as it relates to watershed management strategies for the estuary. The intern will report to the Hudson River Estuary Program’s team leader for climate change projects. These include assisting the state’s Climate Smart Communities certification program and Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The position will be based in the NYS DEC Region 3 office in New Paltz, NY with a substantial component of the work being performed remotely.

Stormwater Coalition of Albany County: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator applications due January 15

The Stormwater Coalition of Albany County has supported extensive water infrastructure mapping of multiple municipalities; created and used ArcGIS Online form technology; and guided the development of a stormwater internet mapper accessible to all members. The preferred candidate is expected to build off of these past initiatives and harness the best of current technology to create accessible and easily visualized mapped information which reflects a commitment to accuracy. An active familiarity with the Clean Water Act is a plus and the overarching goal is to help Coalition member communities use technology to manage regulatory responsibilities and pro-actively protect and improve water quality within their communities.

Stormwater Coalition of Albany County: Coalition Stormwater Program Technician applications due January 15

The Stormwater Coalition of Albany County has one vacancy for the position of Coalition Stormwater Program Technician. This is a 24 hour per week position with flexible hours, some benefits. The candidate directly assists four municipalities in implementing stormwater permit requirements. Typical activities include dry weather outfall surveys, municipal facility self audits, construction site inspections, and stormwater facility inspections (i.e. ponds, rain gardens, swales, etc.). Other activities include public education, record keeping, mapping, and enforcement research.

NEIWPCC/Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve: Environmental Analyst – Coastal Training Specialist application due January 20
More information (click the New York dropdown menu)
This position will promote informed coastal management and decision‑making by developing a successful Coastal Training Program, translating scientific information, building effective training partnerships, and fostering communication between scientific and coastal management communities; primarily on Hudson River habitats, and climate change effects on the habitats and on riverfront communities. This position is assigned to NYS DEC Region 3, Bureau of Marine Resources, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatsburg, NY.


Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies: REU program applications due January 29

The Cary REU program trains a new generation of environmental scientists to advance and translate ecology - science for the future of the planet - through research, application, communication and education. Cary REU students design and carry out independent research projects in ecology, with the support of mentors, fellow students and the rich Institute community of scientists and educators. Science and translational ecology skills are built in workshops, seminars, panel discussions and working on short, authentic communication and teaching activities. REU participants must be current undergraduate students and must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. Students must be enrolled in a degree program with at least one semester remaining after completion of the summer REU program. 

Hudson River Environmental Society: McKeon Research Grant applications due February 8

The McKeon Research Grant is available for High School, Undergraduate and Graduate student research on environmental issues in the Hudson Valley. Grants of up to $1,000 will be given to help defray the cost of summer field work.


USDA: The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program applications due January 11

The Community Forest Program (CFP) is a competitive grant program whereby local governments, qualified nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes are eligible to apply for grants to establish community forests that provide community benefits through fee simple acquisition of private forest land. Lands must be private forest that is at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation and at least 75 percent forested. The lands must also be threatened by conversion to non-forest uses, must be offered for sale by a willing seller, and if acquired by an eligible entity, must provide defined community benefits under CFP and allow public access. 

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF): Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grants due January 28

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds and the species and habitats they support. Projects include a variety of ecological improvements along with targeted community outreach, education and stewardship. Ecological improvements may include one or more of the following: wetland, riparian, forest and coastal habitat restoration; wildlife conservation, community tree canopy enhancement, water quality monitoring and green infrastructure best management practices for managing run-off. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), FedEx, Southern Company and BNSF Railway will award approximately $1.5 million in grants nationwide. 

River Network & WaterNow Alliance: Partnership-Building Technical Assistance Grants for Community Group and Water System Collaboration due January 29

Strong and authentic relationships between local community groups and water systems built on trust are vital to achieving equitable and sustainable water systems. River Network will select three community group/water system partnerships that have a shared commitment to growing their partnership and testing out the best practices. They will provide each partnership with $5,000 in funding support and with technical assistance valued at $5,000 to develop and deploy a partnership-building initiative in their community.

FEMA: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) applications due January 29

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) will support states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards. BRIC is a new FEMA pre-disaster hazard mitigation program that replaces the existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program. The BRIC program guiding principles are supporting communities through capability- and capacity-building; encouraging and enabling innovation; promoting partnerships; enabling large projects; maintaining flexibility; and providing consistency. 

FEMA: Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Applications due January 29

FEMA has posted a Notice of Funding Opportunity available through the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program to states, local communities, tribes and territories to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation/Environmental Facilities Corporation: Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant applications due February 12

Grants are available for municipalities to help pay for the initial planning of eligible Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) water quality wastewater projects. Successful applicants will use the grant to finance engineering and planning services to produce an engineering report. The goal of the Engineering Planning Grant program is to advance water quality projects to construction and future implementation funding through the CWSRF program, Water Quality Improvement Project grants, or other funding entities. The EPG is administered by DEC and the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and made available through the Governor's Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Application.

NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation: Green Innovation Grant Program applications due February 12

Through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process, the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) supports projects across New York State that utilize unique stormwater infrastructure design and create cutting-edge green technologies. The GIGP will provide up to $17 million in grant on a competitive basis to projects that improve water quality and mitigate the effects of climate change through the implementation of one or more of the following green practices: Green Stormwater Infrastructure, Energy Efficiency, and Water Efficiency. 

EFC will host a webinar to present information on both the GIGP and Engineering Planning Grant programs on January 13 at 11:00 AM. A recording of the webinar will be available on EFC’s website for those unable to attend the live webinar. This event will provide an overview of GIGP and EPG, as well as guidance on how to apply for grant funds. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. Register for the webinar here.
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance unites and empowers communities to protect their local water resources